Every law firm started as a small business, and small businesses are very difficult to grow from the ground up — especially in today’s world where the strong eat the weak for breakfast every day. How do you know when to take the next step? The answer might seem obvious, but the balance between what you need and how many resources you have to accomplish it is difficult to strike. A paralegal can make a big difference in the amount of progress you make on new cases, but when is the time right to hire one?
- Happy lawyers are productive lawyers, and in an industry built on billable hours, it’s very simple to figure out if they start falling behind. Communication is key when partners and lawyers interact day to day, and you’ll want to ask the lawyers and other personnel to keep in touch and tell you if they need anything different.
Sometimes lawyers will lose focus on the work you need them to complete or will stop bringing in new clients. These are telltale signs that it’s time for paralegal help. If lawyers start leaving your firm looking for greener pastures, you need to do something — and fast.
- A firm is built on two things: wealthy clients and billable hours. When you realize clients are calling to complain about services rendered more often than they once did, you might have another example of lawyers who can’t handle their workload. Lawyers don’t enjoy doing the mundane tasks any paralegal can perform, so think about handing the work to someone else who needs the money. Overall this can be a bigger investment.
- Time management is another key issue for law firms hoping to grow. When you, your partners, and the lawyers who work for you can no longer find the time to grow the business, outside help will be appreciated by all. Even though you might think it’s simpler to do many tasks on your own, you should really be spending the time interacting with your most important clients or finding new ones. Task delegation is important.
- Another sign that it might be time to hire a paralegal is when other law firms are doing it with similar resources. Part of the business is checking out the competition, and it’s important to imitate those who are successful. Your firm might be different of course, and so you’ll want to hire based on your own needs rather than someone else’s. A legal staffing firm can provide an advantage.